Plastic Surgery and Regenerative Medicine – The Perfect Duo
It’s been said, “regenerative medicine is the wave of the future.” Of course, that was said a while back because this burgeoning field is already taking the medical world by storm.
In the simplest of terms, regenerative medicine is the process of either replacing or renovating human cells, tissues, and organs to assume regular function.
And as the field continues to merge and expand, it’s no surprise that plastic surgery and regenerative medicine make good bedfellows.
Ways That Plastic Surgery and Regenerative Medicine Work Together
Any surgical procedure requires the body to heal. For some this is more challenging than others.
Regenerative medicine gives the body a boost. Through various processes, it aims to either regenerate damaged nerves, bones, or tissues or to stimulate the body’s existing repair mechanisms to heal. It’s an amazing concept, really.
Seeing the huge potential of this field, plastic surgeons have been particularly instrumental in elevating and utilizing these therapies. Here are just a few ways:
- Wound Care
Wound healing is highly emphasized in all surgical procedures. And complex wounds that don’t easily heal have forever been a source of concern for surgeons.
Healing these complex wounds is a major focus in regenerative medicine. Strategies in tissue engineering enable surgeons to use skin substitutes (composed of living cells cultivated in a lab) to stimulate healing. Meanwhile, other growth factors continue to be explored.
Proper healing can be especially crucial in plastic surgery procedures where aesthetics are the primary focus. Thanks to regenerative medicine, it’s not unusual to encounter plastic surgeons now using devices that incorporate micro-mechanical forces and negative pressure to stimulate wound healing. In fact, it was a plastic surgeon who discovered these devices.
Regenerative therapies for healing scars also include energy-based devices that use intense pulsed light or lasers.
- Bone and Nerve Regeneration
When skilled plastic surgeons work with patients to reconstruct extensive damage to the face or limbs, there are often significant segments of bones missing. Through regenerative medicine, surgeons have been able to use calcium-based scaffolds and biomaterials (made from bone) to form new bone tissue.
They’ve also taken great strides in the science of regenerating nerves to attain their optimal functioning through therapies that use growth factors to stimulate nerve healing and grow nerve fibers. Special biomaterials are then further employed as guides to direct that growth. This has been especially beneficial for patients in need of hand and upper extremity surgery, as well as lower extremity surgery.
- Burn Care
When it comes to reconstructive surgery for burn injury patients, plastic surgeons are pioneers in the field of skin regeneration. The utilization of protein scaffolds to generate the innermost layer of skin (the dermis) have been highly effective in healing.
- Breast Reconstruction
For breast cancer survivors, regenerative medicine has provided better outcomes from reconstructive surgery through the use of decellularized tissue scaffolds. Much like the scaffolds mentioned above, these scaffolds regenerate new tissue layers which, in this case, are over the implants.
- Specialized Skin Flaps
In some cases, plastic surgeons have to work to eliminate deformities involving delicate and complex structures that require additional skin. This is not unusual in rhinoplasty surgery.
As such, they’ve utilized regenerative medicine to engineer replacement tissues on another part of the body. Known as ‘flap prefabrication,’ the process involves then transferring tissue grafts from the growth area to the deformity once it has healed.
Want More Great Articles About Plastic Surgery?
If you’re thinking about plastic surgery for yourself, you might be curious about the plastic surgery and regenerative medicine connection or any other number of topics. Explore our blog loaded with informative topics to educate yourself further.
Of course, if you’re feeling ready to you move forward right now, reach out to set up your free consultation. We’ll answer any questions or address concerns you might have about the surgical procedure(s) you’re considering.
So go ahead. Contact us today!